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What We’ve Learned from the First Half of the 2023 World Series of Poker

What We've Learned from the First Half of the 2023 World Series of Poker

What We’ve Learned from the First Half of the 2023 World Series of Poker

Are you ready to hear about the first half of the 2023 World Series of Poker? Well, buckle up because we’ve got some juicy storylines to share with you! From poker’s biggest stars dominating the headlines to first-time bracelet winners and a potential Main Event record being broken, there’s plenty to discuss. So, without further ado, here’s what we’ve learned halfway through the 2023 WSOP.

The Cream Continues to Rise to the Top

The WSOP has always been a platform for showcasing poker’s best players, and this year is no exception. Through the first 50 events, three players have won their sixth career bracelet, while four others have won their fifth. In the 52-year history of the WSOP, only 36 players have won five or more bracelets, and only 19 have won six or more.

Shaun Deeb, in the midst of a million-dollar weight loss prop bet, captured his sixth by winning the $1,500 Eight Game Mix 6-Handed event. Proving his excellence across all poker variations, Deeb has now won a WSOP bracelet in five different games: Seven Card Stud, Pot Limit Omaha, No Limit Hold’em, and Pot Limit Hold’em.

Jeremy Ausmus won his first WSOP bracelet in 2013 but took nearly eight years to win his second. He won the $1,000 buy-in Covid-19 Relief No-Limit Hold’em Charity Event at the 2021 WSOP to start a stretch that has seen him win an unprecedented five WSOP bracelets in 629 days – an average of one bracelet win every 126 days. His sixth bracelet came online in the $3,200 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller.

Thursday night saw Brian Rast defeat Talal Shakerchi heads-up to win the $50,000 Poker Players Championship for the third time in his career and his sixth overall bracelet. He joins Michael Mizrachi as the only players to win the prestigious title three times. His victory came on the same day that the WSOP announced him as one of ten finalists for the Poker Hall of Fame, giving voters a reminder of his greatness.

Another PHOF finalist, Josh Arieh, grabbed his fifth career bracelet in the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship. It’s his third bracelet win in 14 months. Brian Yoon won the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship for his fifth career win. John Monnette won the $1,500 Triple Draw event for his fifth career bracelet. Each of Monnette’s five victories has come in five different variations: Eight Game Mix, Seven Card Stud, No Limit 2-7, Limit Hold’em, and Triple Draw.

Bracelets Are Still the Thing – Even for “Big Name Pros”

While future Hall of Famers like Deeb, Rast, Monnette, and Arieh continue to add to their list of WSOP accolades, a number of highly respected pros finally took care of something missing from theirs: WSOP gold. While no fewer than 38 players won their first career bracelet over the last three-and-a-half weeks, a few stand out above the field.

Jerry Wong, who had made 10 WSOP final tables without capturing gold coming into this summer, finally broke through and took down the $10,000 Razz Championship for his first career bracelet. Chris Brewer, whose history with being on the wrong side of bad beats in super high roller events around the world has been well documented, managed to work his way through 68 other players to win the $250,000 Super High Roller for $5,293,556 and his first bracelet. In the moments after his win, Brewer was interviewed by PokerGO’s Natalie Bode, and the emotions were obvious.

The most notable first-time winner, however, has to be Isaac Haxton. With more than $35 million in lifetime winnings, Haxton is 15th on the all-time money list but still hadn’t captured a WSOP title. It certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. He had seven WSOP final tables throughout his career, including a runner-up finish to Vitaly Lunkin in the $40,000 No Limit Hold’em event in 2009. Haxton beat 300 other entries to win the $25,000 No Limit Hold’em event for nearly $1.7 million and took his name off the top of the Best Player Without a Bracelet list.

Chad Eveslage is More Than Just a One-Trick Pony

Chad Eveslage finished 2022 by being crowned the World Poker Tour Player of the Year. He did it by winning the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio and cashing three more times, including a third-place finish at the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open. Those tournaments were all No Limit Hold’em. He’s shownin the first half of the 2023 WSOP that he’s not just a one-trick pony by winning a bracelet in a non-Hold’em event.

Eveslage won the $2,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better event for his first career bracelet. He defeated a field of 330 players, including several notable pros, to take home the top prize of $199,493. Eveslage demonstrated his versatility and ability to succeed in different poker variations, adding to his already impressive resume.

The Main Event Record Could Be Broken

The WSOP Main Event is the most prestigious poker tournament in the world, and the winner becomes an instant poker legend. Since 2006, the Main Event has attracted more than 6,000 players every year, with the exception of 2020 when it was canceled due to the pandemic. The record for the most Main Event entrants is 8,773, set in 2006 when Jamie Gold won the tournament and took home $12 million.

With the first half of the 2023 WSOP in the books, it appears that the Main Event record could be broken this year. The WSOP has already announced that the buy-in for the Main Event will be $10,000, the same as in previous years. However, there are a few factors that could contribute to a higher turnout this year.

First, the pandemic is under control in many parts of the world, and travel restrictions have been eased. This means that more international players will be able to attend the WSOP this year, which could increase the Main Event field size.

Second, the WSOP has announced a number of promotions and giveaways to attract more players to the Main Event. For example, any player who registers for the Main Event before a certain date will be entered into a drawing for a free seat. In addition, the WSOP is offering discounted hotel rates and other perks to Main Event participants.

Finally, the WSOP is planning to hold the Main Event in a new venue this year. The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, which has been the home of the WSOP since 2005, was sold in 2022, and the WSOP is moving to the new Caesars Forum Conference Center. This new venue is expected to be more spacious and comfortable for players, which could attract more participants.

All of these factors combined could lead to a record-breaking Main Event field size in 2023. Only time will tell if the record will be broken, but it certainly seems within reach.

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